Happy Holidays

It’s hard to believe that the holidays have already come and gone this year. It seems like it always sneaks up on me and is over before I have time to really embrace it.

Chad and I threw our first holiday party this year. Some close friends came by for a ridiculous amount of food and booze and good times. It was nice because not only did we get to have so fun with our friends, but it also forced us to really decorate our place and get festive for the holidays. We put lights around the backyard fence and decked the halls from top to bottom, including the addition of a Festivus pole (Seinfeld fans will know what I’m talking about!).

The rest of December flew by in a flurry, but for some reason, my family and I never really felt like it was Christmas time. It just had a different feeling this year, I guess. We were thankful, though, that our cars were not broken into this year. Last year my car and Chad’s truck were both broken into and most of our Christmas gifts for family and friends were stolen. Luckily, we were able to avoid that this year. 🙂

As Christmas Eve approached, Chad and I geared up for our action-packed schedule of activities. On Christmas Eve at around noon, we headed over to Chad’s parents with our pup. We snacked on goodies and watched Lily play with the new toys they bought for her. We all opened our presents and then began the new tradition of making a Christmas craft together. This year we painted ornaments.
We all had a great time and were very happy with the gifts that were given and received.

Then, at 4:30, we headed over to my grandparents. I immediately headed to the kitchen to let my grandmother rest as I finished up her amazing macaroni and cheese dish. My grandpa had baked his delicious buttermilk chicken and there were a few more side dishes ready to go and a three-layer lemon cake for dessert. It was one of my favorite Christmas meals. After we ate, we headed to the living room to begin the present-opening. In our family, everyone gives everyone something, so present opening can take awhile when you consider all the cousins, siblings, and grandparents in the room. It was a wonderful time, but I missed having my brother there to join in the fun. This is the first Christmas that we haven’t spent together (he had stayed at his apartment in NYC to avoid missing too much work).

As the evening was winding down, we packed up our things and helped put my grandparents house back in order before we headed home. Chad and I fell asleep immediately (although for me it became a somewhat restless sleep thanks to Chad’s loud snoring ;). The next morning we woke up at about 9:00 and let our pup open her stocking, which included her favorite Christmas toy: a stuffed squirrel. The squirrels in our back yard are always teasing Lily, so she enjoyed having one to play with. Her stocking was also full of treats to be doled out in the following weeks. Chad and I exchanged gifts and the theme this year seemed to be North Face. He gave me a warm white North Face sweatshirt, I gave him a North Face running shirt and regular button-down shirt. He also gave me a beautiful new perfume that I had been eyeing, and I gave him an authentic German beer mug from Oktoberfest this year, which I had ordered online over a month earlier. We also exchanged stockings full of all sorts of treats and date night things, such as movie tickets and a Jamba Juice gift card.

Then we quickly showered and packed up our stuff to go to my parents’ house. We threw a few quick pumpkin pies in the oven so they’d be ready for the evening festivities, Chad ran down to pick up a couple more since we were short on eggs and time, and we called my brother so he could share in the Christmas morning fun. My mom made a delicious breakfast of waffles, sausage, and fruit salad. After we ate, we took turns opening presents, and Kenny stayed on the phone the whole time. It wasn’t quite the same, but it was nice to at least be able to talk to him. My dad had caught a bad cold and wasn’t feeling well, but the pup curled up right next to him and tried to take care of him.

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Later in the afternoon, my mom, Chad and I headed off to Los Gatos for the annual family holiday party at Karen and Bill’s. Dad was still feeling very much under the weather, so he stayed with Lily to get lots of rest. For once, we arrived on time at about 4:30 to the holiday party and were even able to make the whole drive during daylight, which makes it considerably easier to find the streets. The party is always held at a beautiful big home in the Los Gatos mountains, only a mile or two away from the place where Chad and I got married. The house has everything anyone could ask for for a great party atmosphere: pool table, bar, ping pong, Wii, and tons of yummy goodies, wonderful family and friends, and warm feelings.

The dinner was incredible and featured the best ham I think I’ve ever had, as well as a ton of other dishes that were all amazingly delicious. We played a few games after dinner and then threw on our coats and mittens and gathered together for the Walk of Shame. This is another family tradition where we all go caroling to the neighbor houses in the cold dark night. The neighbors know we’re coming and are always prepared with cookies or cider for the carolers. It is called the Walk of Shame for many reasons, including the level of alcohol that most people have consumed at that point in the evening and the quality of carols that are sung. Regardless of either, it is always a great time. I can’t imagine Christmas without it.

After all the fun, we piled into the car and drove back home, feeling tired, full and thankful to have shared these special memories with our family.

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